Sunday, April 16, 2017

Abbey Rose

For those who didn't know, 2 weeks ago we welcomed a new member to our family! Her name is Abbey Rose, and she was an 8 week old Bull Terrier (she's now 10 weeks old). She is growing FAST, gaining just about a pound a week (she was 7lbs 2 weeks ago, now she's 9).

A quick synopsis of HOW Abbey came into our lives: we have been looking for a female Bull Terrier for over a year now. They are rather hard to find, and none were going to be close to us. Then Jeannie (unbeknownst to me) found a breeder in Portland Oregon who had ONE left. She was planning on keeping her to show, but then another litter came along and she decided to let her go. Jeannie had been conversing with her a while, and had pictures and had let her know that we DID want her.

So 2 weeks ago Friday I get an email at work that Jeannie wants to go shopping up in the Bay area (about 4 to 5 hours north by car) with a girlfriend on Sunday. They would spend the night in the area and drive home on Monday. I of course said fine by me (what would I say, NO?) and on Sunday morning she was up early and was gone. We chatted on the phone Monday night, all was well with her 'shopping' (ha ha!) and I'd see her tomorrow after work.

So I get off work and go for a short mt bike ride in town, and get home about 6pm. Lo and behold, our family grew by one! She is the most darling little fuzzball you could ask for! All puppies are cute I admit, but there's something REALLY special about Bull Terrier puppies. Maybe it's the almost black slitted eyes, or the shape of their snout (curves OUT, not down like typical dog snouts). Or the ears? Or the tail? Hard to say, other than she is just ADORABLE! Jeannie REALLY surprised me, and WHAT a WONDERFUL surprise indeed!

Here is a pic of me holding her on the first day.
She's got an amazing personality: fearless and curious. She's not at ALL a whiny baby like some 8 week old puppies are apt to be (I mean, COME ON, she's only EIGHT WEEKS old!) As to fearless, she is NOT intimidated in the LEAST by Sophie, her 2 1/2 year Old English Bulldog BIG-sister (who weighs 56lbs, and is built like a large hunk of ROCK). One thing of note in this pic: Abbey's ears are still not standing up straight. Down at the bottom of this post are pics 2 weeks older and they are now up already. Gosh she is growing SO FAST! Some of the pics below are out of order (by her age) and you can tell by the ears: if they are standing up they are later than if they are folded down).

 Here she's attacking Sophie at her weak spots: LOW areas such as legs are her mainstay. She also leaps and occasionally catches a fold of skin on Sophie's face. Her teeth are pure puppy teeth: razor sharp like little needles. When this happens Sophie stops movement until Abbey releases. Sophie actually is quite gentle with her LITTLE sister!

Here Sophie and Abbey are having a tug of war over a small bone. Abbey always loses cuz Sophie knows her size advantage and uses it. She has pulled Abbey clear across the living room playing tug of war with toy animals or the rubber rings.

Another shot showing Abbey on the attack (going for skin folds, or sometimes an ear if she can get it)

Here you can CLEARLY see her size DIS-advantage. But she doesn't stop trying! That's not actually Abbey's feeding bowl (the middle one). She eats alone off to the side, under guard (by ME) so Sophie doesn't mosey in and steal her food.

Here's out WEE MONSTER after she's taken over PG's bed (PG is the Alpha, but hasn't YET bit or even nipped at the little scoundrel). PG barks when Abbey climbs in bed with her (letting us know her territory has been invaded by a little furry Alien) and then if we don't rescue her (Abbey)PG will finally get up and leave, finding a quiet spot to doze. PG is 15 1/2 years old, and is doing pretty well considering her HUMAN age would likely be over 100!

The WEE MONSTER snoozing. She's a pretty good snoozer typically!

More playing tug of war with Sophie (these are the rubber rings). 

Sophie and Abbey on the couch. They LOVE to play on the couch for some reason!

 Here's our little angel in the park playing. She LOVES grass, as I think all dogs do. Here she's poised to POUNCE on Sophie (who is just out of the picture). Sometimes she seems part cat!

 A closeup of Sophie at the park (she's been chasing her ball so her tongue is out just a 'bit').

 And finally, all our Fur-babies wishing you a VERY HAPPY EASTER! 
(you don't want to know how DIFFICULT it was getting this picture...let's just say herding 100 CATS would be FAR easier!)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Rain Rain go away, come again some other year!

Okay...okay....our drought is busted. I'm officially crying UNCLE!!!

We've had a LOT of rain this last 3 months. More than we've had in over a decade, likely longer than that. Our reservoirs are filling up....some are already full and desperately dumping over the spillways. A reservoir in Northern Cal (up near Sacramento) has been on National news as it's emergency spillway has fallen apart and it's at 100%, and they evacuated a bunch of people from the town below while helicopters try to fill the hole in the spillway with giant bags of rocks and such.

We've had a brief remission of the rains these last 3 days here (but more is on the horizon for Sunday and next week). I got the MT bike out for a LONG HARD ride today (it was my Friday off): 35 miles, 7000' of climbing, over 5 ass-busting hours in the saddle. It felt WONDERFUL! Of course, I had to give the bike a good hose-down when I got home as no matter how careful I am NOT to ride thru water and mud, it still gets on the bike cuz there are puddles and running water still on the trails (very NOT normal for us). I rode all the way back to one of our far-removed reservoirs today:  Gibraltar Dam/Reservoir....they have been at 98% capacity for weeks now, and are dumping frantically over the spillway. And all that water going over is flowing downstream RIGHT into Lake Cachuma, which was down to about 6% capacity as of late last's now about 45% and climbing, which is a MAJOR improvement....and with more rain coming and Gibraltar still spilling it's going to be climbing for many weeks to come! The news is actually saying our drought is over (for now). The Sierra Nevada mountains have the highest snow-pack they've had in a LONG time (decades), which will bring a MONSTROUS Spring runoff further filling our lakes and reservoirs AND replenishing our groundwater (which was RIDICULOUSLY low these last few years).

I just know that it's pretty much wet and muddy EVERYWHERE lately, and that's very frustrating to a MT biker. But I know we need it, so I'm keeping my whining to a minimum. See? I'm done.

But what IS exciting right now is that TOMORROW (Saturday) begins the 2017 Spring Classics! Yep...Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the FIRST official race of the Spring Classics, goes off the line tomorrow....HOORAY!! It's followed by Strade Bianche on 3/04, Paris-Nice from 3/5 thru 3/12, Tirreno-Adriatico from 3/08 thru 3/14, Milano-Sanremo on 3/18, and so on and so on! HOORAY!!

I only wish that I could WATCH some of these beautiful races...but it costs a nice chunk of $ to get the cycling channels on our satellite subscription, and I just don't want to spend that money just yet...that comes in JULY when I finally do break down and get NBC sports for a month or two. In the meantime I'll just have to read about them. AND continue TRYING to get back into decent shape...between my recent work-travel, the holidays (beginning a week before Thanksgiving last year) and our inclement weather, my cycling fitness is not where it usually is this time of year. By now I've usually had a good handfull of LONG HARD rides on my resume, and I'd be feeling pretty strong by now. But not so this year...I'm's ride almost killed me...I was barely crawling up the final climb(s) and even the final descent wasn't as fun as it should have been, as my legs were on the verge of cramping (for about the last 10 miles or so) and even my arms were tired and sore as I was descending. Boy was I happy to see the car! But hey...I'm better for it...tho we'll see how I feel TOMORROW on the Saturday morning group ride....I might just be hiding out in the pack being a social butterfly.

Also keep in mind that the 2017 ITI (Iditarod Trail Invitational) starts on MONDAY! Initially Jill Homer (aka Jill Outside) planned to be in this again...last year she RODE A BIKE the full 1000 miles, in ALASKA, in the WINTER, but this year she has found out that she has a hyper-thyroid condition, which explains her outdoors problems this last year or so (If I remember correctly it reared it's ugly head in Wyoming during the Tour Divide race, last year maybe, or was it the year before? I forget already). Her Dr. said it would be very NOT GOOD to go ahead and do this race she had planned, where you are on your own in REMOTE Alaska and could DIE if anything goes wrong or your health isn't top she has backed out of this years race and will be trying to get this under control. But her boyfriend Beat (Jegerlehner) is riding it this year...he's done it on foot the last 3 years in a row pulling a sled (he does the full 1000 mile route...tho last year he only made it half way due to a big storm dumping a ton of snow on the trail killed his chances and he had to bail for lack of food).

Here's a link to the racers this year:

2017 ITI race roster

And here's the trackleader site (where you can track individual athletes by their SPOT track):

2017 ITI trackleaders

There are basically 2 different races: the 350 miler to McGrath, and then the full 1000 miles to Nome. The world famous dog sled racers go off a week later, and will start passing the humans a few days later. I assume Jill will be flying up to Alaska anyway with Beat (she's already had her tickets long ago I assume) and will be blogging about it and riding around doing shorter day trips (I would assume she will be bringing a bike) and finally flying up to Nome for Beats finish in about twenty-something days (dependent on weather how fast the trail is every year). It's truly a monumental human powered race that blows my mind that ANYBODY does it!

And so...I need to get to bed...I'm BEAT (no pun intended...I wonder how many times Beat has said he's "Beat" in his life? From what I can tell he doesn't get 'Beat'...he's the outdoors energizer bunny!)

OK, later gaters...stay dry and warm! And COME ON SPRING! Stupid groundhog...6 more weeks of winter...grrrrrr!